by Sara Huetteman
Huron Pines AmeriCorps Member
On a cold rainy day in January, Andrea and I pack up the car with materials and headed to Jefferson Middle School to run a seed ball table at an after school program organized by the ROCK Center for Youth Development.
While the bell rang indicating the end of the school day, I took a deep breath preparing myself for the sassy energized middle schoolers. As kids trickled into the cafeteria, a few girls noticed our table and wandered over to see what we were doing. Most of them were interested and called over their friends. Soon enough we were in full swing with 2-3 kids per bucket and more kids running up to the table to see what was happening while they munched on the snacks provided by the ROCK. A few kids would only do the task because they would be rewarded with a no-bake cookie after making five seed balls.
A boy using a walker came up, I believe he broke his leg a few months prior. He takes a seat and asks about seed balls. I explain how they are made with seeds native to Michigan and we are using them to fight off invasive species. He begins to make his five seed balls he turns to me and says “did you know if trees gave off Wi-Fi there wouldn’t be climate change?” I smile remembering the image that floats around my Facebook feed every couple months. And reply “because everyone would be planting them?”
We discuss a few more environmental topics while he continued to make seed balls. He makes about 20 and decides it is time for his cookie. Thinking he was done he comes back and starts to make more. He worked until the program was done and made about 100 seed balls. We gave him another cookie for his hard work.
It’s all about the connection you make with kids at these programs. If I didn’t engage in conversation with this boy then he may have only made the five or twenty seed balls. I would not be surprised to see him at a volunteer event a couple years from now, hopefully without a broken leg.
If more kids are like this boy then our future is looking a little brighter.
Sara is serving through the Huron Pines AmeriCorps program, supported in part by the Corporation for National and Community Service, Michigan Community Service Commission, Huron Pines and contributions from host sites. Huron Pines is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and an equal opportunity provider. For more information, visit http://www.huronpines.org/